Introducing a new feature, which SpaceEngine needed for a long time – constellations! They were implemented with collaboration with ESO ePOD – European Southern Observatory’s Education and Public Outreach department. Special thanks to Nico Bartman.

Features:

  • Displaying of lines, boundaries and labels (names) for all 88 + 1 constellations (Serpens is actually split in two – Head and Tail)
  • GUI elements to show/hide lines, boundaries and labels – in the Filters settings menu and on the right-side toolbar
  • Script commands to show/hide lines, boundaries and labels – works the same as GUI elements
  • Script commands to show/hide lines, boundaries and labels for each individual constellation (it is 89 * 3 separate commands), and for zodiacal ones
  • Ability to select constellation in the F3 search tool (although it is not displayed in the list), then Center and Goto can be used on constellation
  • Info table shows some information about the selected constellation. for now it is just a full name, but it is possible to add some interesting stats (like number of stars visible by naked eye, surface area etc)
  • Constellation boundaries are rendered in two ways – at infinity, like the celestial grid, and as a sphere of a certain radius. Script commands and config file parameters to change the mode and sphere radius were added
  • Constellation names are localized
  • What is planned to do (roughly in priority order):

  • Change lines and boundaries rendering to new volumetric lines, like used for orbits (see below)
  • Make some small indent between stars and ends of constellation lines
  • Change labels to a 3D billboards or curved “textures”, rendered on the surface of the boundary lines sphere (this is necessary for fulldome and VR, and can be used further for geographical labels on planets)
  • Script commands and config file parameter to control colors of lines, boundaries and labels, per constellation
  • Add constellations descriptions to Wiki
  • Support of alternate shapes (for example, Ursa Major – the Big Dipper only)
  • Support of asterisms – not a conventional constellations, but a famous star patterns (for example, the “Summer triangle”)
  • Constellations art (drawings)
  • Support of constellations of various cultures, like in Stellarium (Chinese, Mayan etc)
  • Support of custom constellations for mods (for some sci-fi worlds)
  • From Alpha Centauri, Sirius appears near Betelgeuse

    Another work made during the past month:

  • New orbital lines rendering, settings menu have options to control thickness of lines for major and minor bodies separately
  • Graphics settings menu have options to set up warp and reflection textures resolution, fish eye and 360° render buffer resolution
  • Script command to switch the audio output device, automatic redirecting audio to Oculus Rift headphones
  • Command line argument to launch SE in a specified 3D/VR mode (for Steam launch options)
  • Added ability to use super-resolution in VR (rendering at a pixel density greater than 1)
  • Ability to change keys, mouse and joysticks bindings by scripts
  • Support of importing obj saved in ‘quads’ (no need to convert to ‘triangles’ anymore)
  • Ability to create a custom menu with script-running buttons (a step towards professional planetarium version, together with constellations)
  • Added more error checks for star catalogs loading
  • Many VR-related changes
  • Many new script commands and improvements of existing ones (the animation in video for this post is made using a single SE script)
  • Ability to change position of labels near planetary and deep space objects (stars, galaxies)
  • Fixed a dark spot bug in the atmosphere in center of a day hemisphere of a planet
  • Discuss this post on the forum.